Mt. Iliamna Coughs Up Some Secrets

Working with the team members of the Alaska Volcano Observatory team as they studied Mt. Iliamna was not only a learning experience but we walked away with new friends.

Mt. Iliamna

This season found Theresa and I back in Alaska at the Snug Harbor Cannery to support the AVO team while they studied Mt. Iliamna.

Mt. Iliamna volcano is a broad, deeply dissected and highly altered, roughly cone-shaped mountain at the north end of a 5-km-long ridge. Most of the volcano is covered by perennial snow and ice. Numerous glaciers radiate from the summit area and large avalanche deposits occur on the flanks of the volcano, particularly down the Umbrella Glacier on the southwest side of Mt. Iliamna.

According to the team, Mt. Iliamna is one of the least active in Alaska and as such one of the least studied. But that was all to change during the two weeks we were all on the island. Unusually warm and dry weather resulted in the team being able to fly out in the field every single day. Not once did they have to scrub flights due to weather.

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Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

Alaska Volcano Observatory

The AVO is staffed by 22 full-time scientists, technicians, and administrators. However, they weren’t the only ones that came out during the two-week study. There were volcanologists from Colorado and southern California that also came out for a portion of that time.

The AVO is responsible for assessing the full range of potential hazards at specific volcanic centers. This effort involves studying a volcano to determine the style and frequency of past eruptions and the potential impacts of future activity. Hazards assessments include descriptions of the history of a given volcano, explanations of likely eruption scenarios, and determination of probable impact zones for the range of expected hazards.

Each person or small team were there to study a different aspect of the Mt. Iliamna volcano. One of the most interesting, and just plain geeky, was measuring differences in the gravitational pull around the volcano to find magma dooms.

Working with the team members of the Alaska Volcano Observatory team as they studied Mt. Iliamna was not only a learning experience but we walked away with new friends.

Working with the team members of the Alaska Volcano Observatory team as they studied Mt. Iliamna was not only a learning experience but we walked away with new friends.

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Looking out over Crescent Bay from Tongue Point. We recently experienced the lowest tides in a decade here in Washington. ...

Did our #COASST bird survey this weekend during some of the lowest tides in a decade. We could have walked out to the sea stacks off shore which I’ve never seen exposed like this. Of course, what goes out must come in…so we didn’t. ...

Red Sky in the Morning... it's supposed to be a warning, but I'll take it. ...

Wild and Scenic Rivers Project - Getting the collection gear and probes ready for tomorrows survey. Looks like we’ll get a break in the weather during the morning hours so that’s when we’ll be heading out. Looking forward to seeing what changes Mother Winter has wrought on the Suiattle River. ...

Headed back to the North Cascades to resume our Wild and Scenic River Surveys. ...

We’ll be shortly resuming our data collection for the #getwildandscenic project on the Suiattle River. Sensors have been calibrated and sent to us along with all our water sample collection bottles and chemicals. Looking forward to getting back out into the North Cascades. ...

We just received our collection kit from #adventurescientist. We’ll shortly being heading back out to the Suiattle River to start another season of data collection. ...

⁠ View of the south rim of the Dusty Lake region just to the east of the Columbia River near Vantage, WA. Here a small waterfall drains into the lake. ...

You never know what a simple hike through the woods will yield. Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. I'm guessing that at one time it was used by a hometead to hold water during the summer months.⁠ ...

Some of the lush green and waterfalls to be found on the Olympic Peninsula. ...

South shore of Dusty Lake just north of Vantage, Washington. We recently spent a night hoping for a shot of the Milky Way. That didn't happen as hoped, but we had quite the adventure nonetheless. ...

Just published our latest adventure - "A Visit to North Cove" - You can find the link in my bio up top. https://buff.ly/3KFAQB8 ...

Tongue Point on the Strait of Juan de Fuco. This was a negative tide and I’ve never seen so much of the reef exposed. ...

Never seen the tide so low here at Crescent Bay. Getting ready for this weekends #COASST bird survey. ...

⁠ Theresa doing her best to imidate the North head Lighthouse.⁠ ...

Snug Harbor Outpost

The usual suspects were all present at the Cannery this year and it’s always good to come ‘home’ and rekindle relationships. We swapped stories about engagements, passings, man overboard and the usual, “You won’t believe this…” stories.

climate change

The cannery looked much the same despite this being her centennial year. The biggest issue we had to contend with this year was that the waterfall we rely on for our freshwater was just about running dry. 

The same weather that allowed the AVO to conduct such a rapid assessment of Mt. Iliamna was also threatening to dry our water source.

This forced us to rig a storage system and pump to make sure we had the necessary water for daily use. I’ve only been going to the island for about 10 years, but those who have been coming out for decades mentioned that this was the first time they had seen the waterfall just about dried out.

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